We can't remember if we formally bid adieu to Jordan Staal after he was traded to the Canes (edit: Yes we did) but now is as good a time as ever just so we can get it out of the way because when the schedule is released as early as Saturday, there is no going back.
Join us as we look at the life and times of Jordan Staal in a Pens uniform. We will miss his woo.
He was Shero's first Penguin draft pick in 2006. The Pens had a decision to make with Staal early in that 2006-2007 season. If he played more than 10 games, his contract was gonna be on the Pens' books for the year, as opposed to letting him play out the year on his junior team. He ended up staying on board with the Pens that season and set a ridiculous benchmark for himself, scoring 29 goals. His goal total that year would work against him pretty much for the rest of his time as a Penguin, as Internet warriors pointed to it when saying he should be traded because he had already peaked or something.
This hat trick in Toronto was emotional.
His 2007-2008 season was emo, as he settled into a solid third-line role, where he began to establish his reputation as a shut-down center. Only scored 12 goals that season.
2008-2009 brought his goal total back up. He had 22 that season while making significant strides in his PK work. He scored 4 goals in the 2009 Cup run, 2 of which came in the Finals. Honestly, his goal in game 4 is the first thing that pops into our head when someone says "Jordan Staal."
Come 2009-2010, Staal was firmly cemented on the Pens' third line. He scored 21 goals. Can't remember anything from that season, to be honest. The Staal fanboys can probably whip something up.
Everyone was stunned going into the 2010-2011 season when Staal's Ironman streak of unlimited consecutive games played was snapped, with an injury stemming from the PK Subban slice job in the 2010 playoffs. He came back in time for the Winter Classic and helped carry the workload for the Pens down the stretch following the Count's concussion. But he wasn't really a force in the playoff series against Tampa, only scoring 1 goal, and message boards blew up.
Then finally we come to last season. Before his injury on January 6th, he was on pace for 33 goals. He ended up putting home 25 goals in 62 games and reaching a career-high 50 points. Staal carried a decent-sized chunk of the Pens' offense in the Flyers series, with 6 goals and 9 points.
Then came the Draft:
Still love that guy who does the Dumoulin Shout.
And that's it. Jordan Staal outgrew his role as a third-line center. On a team with two premier centers taking up the top two lines, Staal was going to be stuck in middle management his entire career. Something had to give.
The Pens have been blessed to pencil in a 1-2-3 punch at center that every other NHL team salivates over. But who's to say those days are over? Next week is official Preview Week all across the Internet, and we'll be taking a closer look at Brandon Sutter. But for today, it's time to thank Jordan Staal for all the good times. He sucks.